BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The Indiana University men's and women's swimming and diving programs kick of their 2010-11 season this weekend with a pair of dual meets at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center on the Bloomington campus.
Both squads open the year against Big Ten foe Northwestern on Friday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. The Hoosier men and women were victorious against the Wildcats last season in Evanston and look to continue that winning trend.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, the Hoosiers will face SEC member Kentucky beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Last season the men dropped a 175.5-123.5 decision to the Wildcats in Lexington, while the women swam to a 149-149 tie.
The Indiana women's team enters the season as the two-time defending Big Ten champion. The Hoosiers return eight All-Americans from last year's team which finished 10th at the NCAA Championships but must also fill some big holes.
Junior Nikki White is back after earning All-America honors in the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 800 freestyle relay, 1,650 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay in 2010. Junior Margaux Farrell had a breakout season in 2010, winning a conference title in the 200 freestyle and swimming for France at the European National Championships this past summer.
Sophomore Taylor Wohrley will be looked upon to step into the lead backstroke role vacated by NCAA Champion Kate Fesenko. Wohrley was sixth in the 100 back and second in the 200 back at last year's Big Ten Championships and earned All-America honors as a member of the 400 freestyle relay team. Junior Allysa Vavra is the defending Big Ten champion in the 400 individual medley, while senior Ashley Jones was second in the 200 IM and third in the 400 IM at Big Tens a year ago.
On the men's side Indiana looks to return to the upper echelon of the Big Ten after several of its top performers took a redshirt year in 2009-10. One of the biggest returns is that of All-American backstroker Eric Ress. The sophomore was 11th in the 100 backstroke at the 2009 NCAA Championships and was second in both the 100 and 200 back at the Big Ten meet. This past year he focused his time with the French national team, winning the French national championship in the 200 backstroke and representing the country at the 2010 European Championships.
Sophomore Jim Barbiere, who also sat out last season, should be a leader for Indiana in the middle distance freestyle events, while senior Titus Knight will look to cap his career with a strong season.
In the diving well, the women welcome back senior Brittney Feldman after she missed last season due to injury. Feldman is a four-time All-American and a top-three finisher at the USA Diving national championships. Junior Gabby Agostino had a strong year last season, winning her first Big Ten title with a surprising finish on the platform, and picking up a pair of All-America accolades.
On the men's side, IU's young squad is now a seasoned one as the freshmen were thrust into action a year ago. Sophomore Zac Nees was a top-15 finisher in all three events at the Big Ten Championships a year ago, as was fellow sophomore Casey Johnson. The group will be led by senior David Piercy who finished in the top-10 in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events at Big Tens last year.
It is a jam-packed home schedule for IU as the women welcome powers Michigan and Texas to Bloomington for a two-day meet on Oct. 29 and 30. The following weekend the men will take on the Wolverines and Longhorns, Nov. 5 and 6, also at the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center. The Hoosierland Open will take place Dec. 3-5 to wrap up the 2010 schedule.